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August, 1992 R. A. Fisher and Fiducial Argument
S. L. Zabell
Statist. Sci. 7(3): 369-387 (August, 1992). DOI: 10.1214/ss/1177011233


The fiducial argument arose from Fisher's desire to create an inferential alternative to inverse methods. Fisher discovered such an alternative in 1930, when he realized that pivotal quantities permit the derivation of probability statements concerning an unknown parameter independent of any assumption concerning its a priori distribution. The original fiducial argument was virtually indistinguishable from the confidence approach of Neyman, although Fisher thought its application should be restricted in ways reflecting his view of inductive reasoning, thereby blending an inferential and a behaviorist viewpoint. After Fisher attempted to extend the fiducial argument to the multiparameter setting, this conflict surfaced, and he then abandoned the unconditional sampling approach of his earlier papers for the conditional approach of his later work. Initially unable to justify his intuition about the passage from a probability assertion about a statistic (conditional on a parameter) to a probability assertion about a parameter (conditional on a statistic), Fisher thought in 1956 that he had finally discovered the way out of this enigma with his concept of recognizable subset. But the crucial argument for the relevance of this concept was founded on yet another intuition--one which, now clearly stated, was later demonstrated to be false by Buehler and Feddersen in 1963.


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S. L. Zabell. "R. A. Fisher and Fiducial Argument." Statist. Sci. 7 (3) 369 - 387, August, 1992.


Published: August, 1992
First available in Project Euclid: 19 April 2007

zbMATH: 0955.62521
MathSciNet: MR1181418
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1214/ss/1177011233

Keywords: Behrens-Fisher problem , Fiducial inference , Jerzy Neyman , Maurice Bartlett , R. A. Fisher , recognize subsets

Rights: Copyright © 1992 Institute of Mathematical Statistics

Vol.7 • No. 3 • August, 1992
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